Modelling the Spatial Distribution of Container Freight Demand

Modelling the Spatial Distribution of Container Freight Demand


A Nuzzolo, A Comi, P Coppola, University of Rome, IT


We present a model to forecast the spatial distribution of the container freight demand originated from a transhipment hub


In the last decades freight transport, and especially container transport, has grown very rapidly. Globalization, economic growth and the rising economy of the Far-East have tremendously increased flows of goods between the continents, and has significantly been affecting the global pattern of freight demand flows, resulting in a change of the structure of the commercial routes and of the roles the ports. This is particularly the case of the Italian ports, due to their strategic geographical position within the Mediterranean Sea.
This work is part of a research funded by the Italian Ministry of Scientific Research, aiming at defining the guidelines for the development of the Italian container ports system. The research is based, on the one hand, on the forecasting of the inbound and outbound freight demand flow for the three Italian container hubs (i.e. Gioia Tauro, Taranto, and Cagliari) and, on the other hand, on the evaluation of the performances of such hubs in future macro-economic scenarios.

In this paper we present the model system developed to forecast the spatial distribution of the container flow originated from a container hub. A nested structure is proposed: the models estimates, at the first level, the spatial distribution of the containers demand from the hubs towards the different macro-regions (duly specified) within the Mediterranean area, and, at the second level, the distribution among the regional ports belonging to each macro-region. The model has been applied to future scenarios (including infrastructures development and different assumptions on the international trade pattern) to forecast the container demand volumes in the Italian ports, and to evaluate the competitiveness of the Italian port system within the Euro-Mediterranean region.

The parameters of the models, calibrated using source data of the year 2008, as well as the results of the above model applications, will be presented and discussed in the paper.


Association for European Transport